Seasonal gatherings.


with Anna Jones.

Words by Anna Jones
Photography by Maria Bell





“Produce from the market or homegrown is fresher, and that effects the taste.


  Anna Jones believes that vegetables should be put at the centre of every table. So, naturally, we cycled over to east London to meet Anna and see how we should use our seasonal bounty. We were inspired by our visit to Kew’s Kitchen Garden, but for those without a dreamy allotment or garden, the market is always a good place to head and close to Anna's house we met lovely Molly, from ‘Ted’s Veg’ who told us she believes, “produce from the market or homegrown is fresher, and that effects the taste." We all couldn't agree more, the fresher the better.

  And the taste of a vegetable is something that Anna puts front and centre in her cooking. We've met a lot of farmers and it's surprising to hear that for many of them flavour is quite far down the list of things to focus on when growing produce for supermarkets, it's always size and volume first. Many people talk about the quality of their meat, but this is all forgotten when they go shopping for their vegetables. Anna is not one of those. Enjoy these recipes as Anna shows us how humble vegetables can be kings and queens of your table.
Not so humble anymore ...






Roasted
root panzanella


  Panzanella by its tomatoey nature is something I only really enjoy in late summer, when the tomatoes are at their ripest and best. Good bread soaking up all the precious juices of the best tomatoes. But I love the idea of panzanella. So I made a version for autumn and winter months too.

  Here, gently roasted squash hugs the seeded bread, onions add background sweetness, and the beetroots are roasted with a brave amount of vinegar, which becomes a deep amethyst liquor that is the base of the killer dressing. In this recipe, the oven does all the work for you (you’ll need a few roasting trays).

For the salad

6 medium beetroots (peeled and quartered),
2 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar
Sea Salt
Ground black pepper,
Olive oil 
2 red onions (peeled and cut into eighths)
6 smallish carrots (peeled and halved lengthways)
½ a butternut squash (deseeded and cut into 1cm slices)
A few sprigs of fresh sage or thyme (leaves picked)
5 slices of good seeded bread
Handful of roasted pumpkin or roasted squash seeds
1 unwaxed lemon

For the dressing

2 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil 
Small bunch of fresh mint (leaves picked and chopped)
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6

Serves 4

Method

  Put the beetroots into a deep roasting tray with the vinegar, some salt and pepper and a good splash of olive oil. Turn them to coat everything, then cover the tray with foil and put into the oven to roast for 15 minutes.

  Next, lay the onions and carrots on a second tray and the squash on a third. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil, then scatter the sage or thyme over both. Once the beetroots have had 15 minutes in the oven, put in the other two trays and roast the lot for a further 40 minutes.

  Once the vegetables are roasted, tender and golden, take everything out of the oven and scrape the onions and carrots on to the tray with the squash. Tear the bread into little chunks and tumble them on to the now-empty tray, then scatter over the seeds.

  Season with salt and pepper and grate over the lemon zest.
Drizzle with olive oil and pop into the oven for 5–10 minutes,
until just starting to crisp.

  While the bread is toasting, make your dressing. Carefully pour the juices from the roasted beets into a jug, add the olive oil, mint and mustard, season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Tumble all the veg into a big bowl and top with the crisp bread and seeds. Stir in the dressing, turning everything so that it’s coated with the deep violet colour. Wonderful with a little goat’s cheese or even a spoonful of lemony yoghurt, and some green leaves, if you like.





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